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The Best British Sitcoms of All Time

Updated 2 Dec 2019 193.6k votes 20.5k voters 763.2k views148 items

List RulesEpisodic comedy shows that initially debuted on British television

Funniest British TV shows ever produced, ranked by worldwide comedy fans. British sitcoms - or "Britcoms" as they are sometimes called in the US - are known for their crisp dialogue, biting wit and sardonic look at modern life in the UK. Shows like The Office (which inspired the US series), Are You Being Served and Absolutely Fabulous present traditional settings and scenes, but populated by outlandish, even demented, eccentrics, some of whom have become among the nation's most iconic characters. (Both David Brent of The Office and Basil Fawlty of Fawlty Towers have been voted near the top of Ranker's "Funniest TV Characters of All Time" list.)

Additionally, though US sitcoms tend to take one of a few reliable formats - a traditional three-camera set-up in front of a studio audience, say, or the "mockumentary" style of shows like The Office and Parks and Recreation - British sitcoms tend towards the more experimental and daring. Blackadder, for example, sets each new season in a different time period, with relations of the original two characters: Blackadder and Baldrick. Peep Show as well tells a rather familiar story about two wacky roommates, but through a unique POV perspective, with the actors performing largely in voice-over.

What are the best British comedy series? Numerous English comedy shows on this list - as from the obvious The Office - have inspired American remakes, though the vast majority of these - such as the US versions of Fawlty Towers and Men Behaving Badly - have not met with similar success across the pond.

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